Last Updated: May 11, 2023
What is Learning Ally?
Learning Ally is a collection of books read by humans for students with print disabilities, including blindness, visual impairment and dyslexia. They have over 80,000 titles in their collection including popular books in the mainstream as well as textbooks.
How does it work?
Learning Ally recruits volunteers to read books, which are then turned into audiobooks. These volunteers synchronize the audio along with the text so that a student can follow along with highlighted sentences. You can read more about this process or volunteer to make an audiobook here - https://www.learningally.org/Volunteer/Making-Audiobooks
How does this help students?
Making books accessible helps students in three main ways. First, having access to an audiobook provides students with information and content that otherwise may be difficult to attain if the only format is text. Second, having this access bridges the gap between ability to decode and ability to comprehend. In other words, it may be difficult for a student to independently read information about space from a textbook, but that doesn’t mean that the student has difficulty understanding the concepts of space. Last, instead of struggling through reading the words, students have an easier way to simply enjoy reading just for the joy of it.
What are the steps to using it on your child’s HPDS laptop?
Can I use Learning Ally at home?
Absolutely! Here are some suggestions from Learning Ally:
How much does it cost?
HPDS pays for the subscription while your child is enrolled at Hyde Park Day School. The cost for membership after transition is $135 with eligibility requirements. Here is the link - https://www.learningally.org/Parents/Join
Does it work on other devices?
Yes. Learning Ally can be used on a variety of different devices including PCs, Macs and mobile. The trick is discovering which format works best with the tools the student needs and on the device s/he is working. The program or app is called Learning Ally Link. Here is a list of the links to download Learning Ally Link - https://www.learningally.org/Parents/Devices
What do I need to know when my student transitions?
What else is good to know about working with Learning Ally?
Where can I find more information?
Learning Ally - https://www.learningally.org/
Learning Ally’s YouTube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/user/LearningAlly/featured
Learning Ally’s Twitter - https://twitter.com/Learning_Ally
Learning Ally Guide for Mobile
Learning Ally Guide for Laptops
How is Learning Ally different from Bookshare?
Bookshare is another resource for students with print disabilities. HPDS uses both Learning Ally and Bookshare. Access to Bookshare provides more options for teachers to teach our students how to use assistive technology that in turn, help our students transition. Access to Learning Ally provides a different format for our students to access and read books.
A few differences are the following:
Amount of books in collection
Access to textbooks
Has textbooks and can submit requests for textbooks
Has textbooks and can submit requests for textbooks (limited)
Digital - assistive technology can be used with it (text-to-speech, annotating, dictionary, etc.)
Or can use Bookshare’s Web Reader - https://www.bookshare.org/cms/help-center/training-resources/read
Audiobooks and some books in VOICEtext (highlighting words as they are spoken)
Voice provided by text-to-speech options that are available on the device
Free for students with print disabilities
Membership is $135 with eligibility requirements
Differences between Bookshare and Learning Ally - https://www.bookshare.org/cms/help-center/how-bookshare-different-nls-or-learning-ally-rfbd
*Please note that technology and pricing is always changing. This document reflects the most recent known information as indicated by the Last Updated Date at the top of the page.